The demand of the green cards for Chinese workers in the US increased drastically in the last few years preceding COVID-19. The Green card is the name for the United States Permanent Resident Card, it was formerly called Alien Registration Card. Its name comes from the fact that it used to be green between 1946 and 1964. However, since 2010, the United States Permanent Resident Card reverted back to its original color.
China is becoming the world’s biggest exporter of people, and many Chinese are targeting the US as a priority. The US is the currently the most popular destination for wealthy Chinese looking to get abroad. 80 per cent of the 7,641 investor immigrant visas approved in the U.S. in fiscal 2012 were taken up by Chinese according to The Wall Street Journal.
In general, worldwide expatriation is also on the rise. The number of international migrants worldwide reached 232 million in 2013 according the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations. This represents an increase of 33 per cent compared to 2000.
International migrants mainly reside in developed regions and as a result Europe hosts the largest number of international migrants reaching 72 million. However it is closely followed by Asia with 71 million where China represents more than a third.
Types of green cards for Chinese residents
The green card is used as a proof of legal residence for its holder, and enables a lawful permanent resident (LPR) permission to reside and take employment in the United States. It can nevertheless be removed in a number of circumstances.
Crucially, a lawful permanent resident can apply for United States citizenship, or naturalization, after five years of residency. This period is shortened to three years if they are married to a U.S. citizen.
It is stipulated in the U.S. immigration legislation in the Immigration and Nationality Act that resident status can be obtained though various channels, but the green card remains the most popular option.
The immigration process can be undertaken through a family member, employment, investment, diversity lottery, refugee status and though the director of Central Intelligence decision.
Each visa is classified into different categories with different eligibility requirements and quotas. The family-sponsored is one of the fastest channels, but the presence of a relative on the American land isn’t frequent. Subsequently, employment based visas are most popular for Chinese migrants. They require an employer to sponsor the visa and must result to a future job in the US.
A subcategory of Visa also exists, called the EB-5 visa. This particular type targets immigrant investors. This green card is obtainable way faster and requires an investment of $1,000,000.
Other statuses granting legal residence also exist, such as the Diversity Immigrant (DV), Political Asylum , and a Refugee status, may be undertaken in more specific cases.
“The hardest visa to get in the world”
The Chinese media often describe the US green card as the hardest to get in the world. Online surveys in China typically show that while the US is the favorite destination for migrant, it is also seen as the most difficult to reach for Chinese people.
Getting US green cards for Chinese workers is particularly costly, despite its reasonable purchase price for the wealthy. It is often not realized that US citizenship brings a requirements to pay US taxes along with its benefits.
In addition, the length of the whole application and approval process due to the quotas of green cards increases the difficulty of getting the permanent residence. Generally priority members’ applications are processed in 6 months, but this has increased dramatically due to the pandemic.
For non-immediate family members, the process may take up to 10 years since paperwork is processed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Getting no news for the first several months is habitual.
As matter of security, once in the US, the owner must always carry their permanent resident document.
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